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Tycho / on Mon, Sep 24 2007 at 12:00 am

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At The Corner of Bait And Switch

When Sony’s Jack Tretton claimed it was impossible to find a Playstation 3 at retail, we cautioned them about the use of out-and-out falsehoods - suggesting that they instead massage verifiable facts.  But later in the same month, vile morlock Phil Harrison told GameDaily that rumble was merely some vestigial bullshit about to be shorn off by their futuristic love machine.   

That’s not why they didn’t include it, of course: it had nothing to do with the "future."  At other times, the story was variably one of cost concerns or technical hurdles.  Despite the fact that both of their current systems include web browsers, I’m not sure if they’ve heard of the Internet.  It took me about five minutes to reconstruct their concussed media narrative - a bewildered, tragic thing stumbling through the woods very late at night. 

The Wii remote - the very icon of a system whose technical sophistication is played for yuks in developer circles - crams in a pointing device, an auxiliary input, motion sensing, rumble, a speaker, and writable memory.  And it came out around the same time as the Sixaxis, so I feel confident saying that (by this point) mankind had mastered those strange forces.  The reality is that Sony’s ongoing legal "rumble" with Immersion over their force feedback patents necessitated this entire Sixaxis abortion.  Of course, they did eventually pay - years later - just as we will all pay next spring, when the new controller is released in the States.  This would have been a great opportunity to decouple the battery from the pad, or jettison those sloppy triggers altogether.  Why didn’t they?  I’m sure they have a very good reason.

The Halo reviews started dropping yesterday, if you actually need information of that kind to make your decision.  But similar to the recent Team Fortress 2 review, I have to wonder how you can "grade" a title that includes rich community interaction and polymorphic content a week before the Goddamned launch.

I’ve come to interpret 10 ratings as a kind of failure state.  Not a failure on the part of a reviewer, mind you, simply a failure of the mechanism to deliver a credible result.  Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas got tens.  It isn’t especially great as a function of its mission to mission gameplay, but it’s vast beyond reckoning.  If you take everything you can do in that game and assign it an arbitrary number, even if that number is a Goddamned fraction the value in aggregate must be ten.  It would be more than ten!  Except ten is the top.   

Consider The Orange Box, as delivered on next-gen systems:  for Sixty U.S. Dollars, you receive Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episodes One and Two, a completely new game called Portal, and one of the most hotly anticipated multiplayer shooters ever in sequel to Team Fortress.  Measuring a single game is an affront to thinking people; measuring five at once is the murder of reason.     

 

(CW)TB out. 

  the words left choking in my mind


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